How to recruit forum moderators

by Martin Reed on 22 March 2007 in Snippets

As your forum becomes more popular, it is important to ensure it is well moderated. At first, this can easily be done just by yourself. However, as your community grows you will find it increasingly difficult to effectively moderate your forum alone.

As you come across other forums you will notice that many have a number of moderators. You may wonder where the site owner finds these people, or why people even want to become moderators in the first place.

I always advise you to approach the users who appear to be committed members and post a high number of quality posts. Approaching them can be as simple as simply private messaging them, asking them to become a moderator. Make it clear why you are choosing them and clearly define their role. Something similar to this may be useful:

Hi <name>

I am dropping you this message as I have really enjoyed reading your posts of late, and admire your commitment to the site. I really value you as a community member of this site, and would love to have you on board as a forum moderator. A forum moderator’s role is to make all the users feel welcome, encourage interaction between members and delete or move inappropriate posts and threads.

If you would like to discuss this some more, please get in touch!

By approaching the member in this way, you are showing them just how much you value them as a part of your community and are not applying excessive pressure on them to become a moderator. It is no good ‘forcing’ a member to become a moderator; they will not have the motivation or desire to do an effective job.

You may ask yourself why someone would want to become a forum moderator, especially as most positions are unpaid. Most forum moderators do the job because they truly like the community and want to see it develop. Their reward is in having a direct involvement with the success and future direction of the community. Your reward is having a member who is even more committed to your community as opposed to the competition, and having an extra set of eyes to watch over your forum and help it develop.

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{ 19 comments }

Draicone May 4, 2007 at 9:39 am

Great article. I recently started up a forum for a friend and I’m looking to find some good moderators. I have an existing audience and there’s lots of activity with lots of dedicated members, but approaching potential moderators was always a problem. Thanks for the suggestions!

Martin Reed May 4, 2007 at 12:47 pm

Hi Draicone – I am glad the article was useful for you. You may also find the post on getting more from your moderators useful.

Thorn June 3, 2007 at 7:05 pm

This is pretty much how I’ve found moderators in the past – the only problem being that there aren’t enough great members to choose from, but I’m working to fix that. ;)

Martin Reed June 3, 2007 at 10:10 pm

Thanks for your comment, Thorn. If you can’t find someone to invite as a moderator, perhaps your community doesn’t yet need additional moderation?

I would only ever take people on when you are 100% sure of their professionalism and integrity. Don’t make any rash decisions – you must just regret them!

Good luck and let me know how you get on.

Bollywood October 1, 2007 at 11:31 pm

Moderate a forum .. sometime it become really difficult and moderate it alone is impossible if the traffic to your forum starting to increase.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 3, 2007 at 8:27 pm

Bollywood – You’re right; as your community grows it will become impossible to moderate it on your own. That’s when it is time to bite the bullet and give your maturest members moderator privileges.

Education blogger October 18, 2007 at 9:35 pm

Thanks for the advice… I’ve been wondering how to go about contacting people or advertising mod opportunities in my forum. My forum does alright, but I need to improve it, and this article as well as your newest one are a great help! Thanks…

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 23, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Education blogger – I am glad you found the article useful and hope that I continue to offer relevant articles in the future.

Alberghi October 27, 2007 at 6:06 pm

really i appreciate it really a good article. thank you martin.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 29, 2007 at 8:59 pm

Alberghi – You are welcome, I am glad the article was useful to you.

San Diego Personal Injury Attorney November 16, 2007 at 10:12 am

It’s difficult to find good moderators… they always get on a power trip like they own the site.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 16, 2007 at 6:54 pm

San Diego – If they go on a power trip like they own the site, then quite simply you have either:

a) Chosen the wrong person to be a moderator
b) Not given clear enough guidelines as to their role and your expectations

Dan May 10, 2008 at 12:40 am

I had an opposite problem, so to speak :) How NOT to recruit a moderator. See, there were two extremely active power-users, who were really at the center of the forum. Loved by many, of not most members. I just knew I couldn’t work with either of those due to incompatible chemistry.. and because it wasn’t a “work” forum, I took the liberty not to get them the moderator job and instead picked somewhat less active members. Of course this upset those two a bit.. So what I did was creating a special “advisory board” of those two and a bunch of other power-users whom I really wanted to get closely involved with our happenings, but not on the official level. On the two sites that I did that it works great :)

Martin Reed - Blog Author May 12, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Dan – Your decision to avoid giving full moderator privileges to people you knew you would be unable to work with was 100% correct. Giving them an ‘advisory’ position instead was a good compromise, but remember – you’ll still need to work with them in this role, too!

Smiley June 10, 2008 at 1:53 pm

? You don’t want moderators to come to the forum.. ideally you want popular, responsible, loyal and fair-minded regular posters to be the moderator.

Online communities are supposed to be fun, too. A moderator position within a community, to me, is a position of ‘honour’. A position that is almost impossible to attain giving the person who has it that much more respect, the moderator should moderate for you because they love the site and genuinely want to help out……. if it’s getting to the point where you feel you have to bribe people to moderate for you via cash reward.. in my opinion that’s a sign that there’s something wrong!

But I’m no professional, far from it, so remember that it’s just my opinion :)

Martin Reed - Blog Author June 26, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Smiley – Yup, I agree with you. Moderators should be in the role because they are passionate about the community and want to see it improve. Once you introduce money as an incentive, this passion can then be questioned.

MOin September 14, 2008 at 9:21 pm

really nice walk throughs for the one’s who recently started a forum and need forum faculty, but imo these days gathering moderators is not a big deal anyone is willing to become a moderator i dont know what people think is being a moderator =/

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 6, 2008 at 8:37 pm

MOin – Yes, a lot of people are willing to be moderators but just because someone puts their hand up and volunteers, does that mean they should be one? Most of the time, no. You need to pick the right one, not any one.

Brian March 27, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I liked the post and read it very seriously as I am also in need of a reliable moderator for my forum but I donít think that someone will be ready to provide unpaid services and I guess that I will have to spend some dollars to hire a proper moderator.

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